Why Skype Is Not a Full-Fledged VoIP Solution
What You Require from a VoIP System
The needs of a business are very different from those of the person at home. It's not just a question of scale – though that is one part of it as well. It's a question of reliability, flexibility, ease of use and maintenance. Another very important aspect is whether or not the system presents a respectable face to the public who interact with it as customers. A VoIP system if it has to replace the PSTN one, has to fulfill all these requirements and naturally exceed them. In other words, it has to be able to work in exactly the same way as the PSTN system works allowing customers to call telephone numbers, and give the same to each of its employees, all the while saving money.
SIP VoIP providers have worked for a long time to cater to the needs of businesses and provide them with these functionalities. They are critical for any respectable business. The reliability of such systems also has to match the PSTN network. If a product or technology falls short of these parameters, it will be unsuitable in a work environment. Skype, while being a great software for home use is pretty much unsuitable in a business workplace.
Shortcomings of Skype
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of Skype is the fact that it uses nonstandardized systems. While it was a pioneering company in its early days and became virtually synonymous with VoIP in general, Skype has now been left behind because it refuses to work with the industry and open-source its protocols and methods of operation. From a business point of view, Skype does this in order to lock in its customers and prevent them from migrating to other systems. But the lack of interoperability means that no other VoIP provider can ever connect to the Skype network directly. This has several implications for the viability of Skype as a business tool.
As of now, VoIP has to play by the rules of the PSTN system. Regardless of the desirability of getting rid of telephone numbers in the long-term, any respectable VoIP technology has to incorporate them if it is to be taken seriously. Skype's offerings in this regard are confused and disjointed. Perhaps the biggest road block is the image that people have of Skype being useful only for interpersonal communications where both people have a Skype account and are sitting in front of a computer with a microphone and headset. While Skype has been trying to break this image and offer more traditional services to businesses, it hasn't been very successful in this regard.